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Best of 2010: Most Popular Posts

Happy New Year! Thanks to your support in 2010. Here’s a look back at our top posts of the year.

Walking can be hazardous. But puffin crossings are one way to make pedestrians safer. Photo via webax.it.

Walking can be hazardous. But "puffin" crossings are one way to make pedestrians safer. Photo via webax.it.

1. Zebras, Puffins, Pelicans or Hawks for Pedestrians?

The next time you hear your transit geek peers arguing about the merits of puffins versus pelicans, you’ll be able to join in the debate!

This post was inspired by a discussion on a sustainable transport listserv about which kind of pedestrian crossings should be installed in certain intersections in Indian cities. Most of the animal-inspired crosswalks are of British origin and are mostly found in the U.K. or countries with U.K.-influenced transit engineering policies.

Here’s a little primer on zebra, pelican, puffin, toucan, hawk, pegasus and Barnes Dance crossings.

Here is a snap shot of the love seats, also known as "Kærlighedssæder." Photo via Kadaver Off the Record.

Here is a snap shot of the love seats, also known as "Kærlighedssæder." Photo via Kadaver Off the Record.

2. Buses Spread the Love in Copenhagen

Looking for love? Ride the bus!

Starting on May 3, Danish transport company Arriva introduced red-upholstered designated “love seats” on more than 100 buses in Copenhagen to encourage flirtation, smiles, romance and happiness among the city’s passengers, whether they’re happily single, married or still looking for love. The bigger idea — besides being cute — is to get people to leave their cars parked at home and enjoy riding public transportation, as more of a social endeavor.

Moscow's redesigned metro map.

Moscow's redesigned metro map. Image via Art. Lebedev Studio.

3. Moscow Metro Map and Usability of Public Transportation Maps

Moscow just released its new metro map. We thought it would be interesting to write about the most well-designed maps of various cities’ public transit systems. Moscow’s new map took four years to develop, according to the design firm behind it, Art. Lebedev Studio. Its design is meant to be scalable to various sizes and complexity. A lot attention was paid to graphically representing the intersections of various transit lines.

Graphic designer Cameron Booth, who redesigned Washington, D.C.’s Metro map as a personal project (it’s not publicly in use), answered a few of our questions about mapping

Rio de Janeiro Cable Car

A cable car seen from Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Phillie Casablanca.

4. Up, Up and Away in a Cable Car

Cable cars, also known as ropeways or aerial tramways, don’t get much respect. These types of transportation systems, in which a cabin or other conveyance is suspended from a fixed cable and pulled by another cable, are often thought of as tourist-movers. But cable cars can have some practical applications in urban settings. They are especially useful where inclines are too steep for conventional mass transit and where they can serve as feeders to bus and metro systems. They have been successfully applied in growing cities of the developing world, where slums are often clustered on precipitous hills surrounding urban centers.

5. FedEx Makes More Efficient Deliveries with Zero Emissions Electric Bikes

An electric, non-carbon emitting tricycle for adults is way more exciting than it sounds, especially when an international company like FedEx Corp. uses the bikes to deliver packages across the city of Paris.

FedEx now has four tricycles making mail deliveries in Paris – 12 by the end of the summer – that run on a 250-watt electric motor supplemented with pedal power. The company partnered with Urban Cab, a transportation service with 22 pedal-powered “rickshaws” around the city.

Las Vegas is improving its public transportation by expanding its bus rapid transit services, which began with the MAX line in 2004. Photo by atruedrew.

Las Vegas is improving its public transportation by expanding the city's bus rapid transit services, which began with the MAX line in 2004. Photo by atruedrew.

6. BRT Hits the Las Vegas Strip

Bus rapid transit is successfully showing its virtues in Sin City. Last Thursday, Las Vegas broke ground on the ACE Green Line, a new BRT corridor that will connect downtown Las Vegas and Henderson, the second largest city in Nevada. The new buses, expected to begin operation late next year, will run on dedicated lanes along a 15-kilometer route of Boulder Highway, which is located to the east of the famous Las Vegas “Strip” and similarly dotted with several casinos and motels. Another line, the ACExpress W line, is also slated to launch later this year.

The recently-launched Guangzhou BRT is expected to change public perception about bus-based travel around the world.  Photo: Karl Fjellstrom, ITDP.

The recently launched Guangzhou BRT is expected to change public perception about bus-based travel around the world. Photo: Karl Fjellstrom, ITDP.

7. Guangzhou’s BRT: Revolutionizing Perceptions of Bus Travel in China

After a ten-day test run over the Chinese New Year holiday, the 22.5-kilometer system launched on February 21. The GBRT is a system of superlatives, like so many other things are in China: it has the world’s highest number of passenger boardings at BRT stations, the highest BRT bus frequency, and the longest BRT stations. What’s more, it is the first BRT to directly connect to a metro system and the first BRT system in China to include bike parking in its station design. In its first month of operation, the GBRT’s ridership levels are second only to Bogotá’s Transmilenio, with more than 25,000 passengers per hour in a single direction at rush hour,and more than 800,000 boardings per day.

Ecobici's bike map shows the location of bike stations in operation and available bicycles.

Ecobici, Mexico City's new bike-sharing program, shows the location of bike stations in operation and available bicycles on its Web site.

8. Mexico City Launches Ecobici Bike-Sharing Program

Last week, Mexico City came a couple steps closer to reducing the 5 million vehicles that pass through it each day with the launch of its new bike sharing program, Ecobici. The Federal District’s Head of Government, Marcelo Ebrard; Mexico City’s Secretary of the Environment, Martha Delgado; and Jorge Dzib Sotelo, director of Ciclismo Para Todos (”Cycling for All”) kicked off this innovative program.

Paradigmatic surburbia: Santa Ana of Orange County, California. Photo by

Paradigmatic surburbia: Santa Ana of Orange County, California. Photo by John Lobel.

9. Cities in Flux: Latino New Urbanism

The concept of Latino New Urbanism, pioneered by advocate Katherine Perez, is a way of understanding community, public spaces and neighborhoods by acknowledging the preferences and culture of Latino immigrants, which, in many cases, are the majority of residents in certain areas. Latinos have been transforming U.S. communities for decades. Now their impact on planning and transportation in the country is being more formally acknowledged. In other words, Latinos assimilate to U.S. notions of urban development while transforming and adapting often overlooked neighborhoods.

The Haifa subway. Image via Designboom.com

The Haifa subway. Image via Designboom.com

10. In Haifa, a Strange Subway and a New BRT

Earlier this week, we wrote about map designs of public transit around the world. In our research, we came across the Haifa subway—the shortest in the world. The design seems totally unique. Have you ever encountered a transit system like this before?

The system opened in 1959 and has 6 stations along its 1.8-kilometer track that climbs Mount Carmel in Haifa, a coastal city in northern Israel. According to DesignBoom, “the system transports around 2,000 people along the track each day and is among the most unusual subway stations in the world.”

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